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Westcott Green Belt Boundary Assessment Forum Meeting 18 th November 2013.

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Presentation on theme: "Westcott Green Belt Boundary Assessment Forum Meeting 18 th November 2013."— Presentation transcript:

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2 Westcott Green Belt Boundary Assessment Forum Meeting 18 th November 2013

3 Westcott Green Belt Boundary Assessment The boundary assessment looks at three criteria –The degree to which the Green Belt land prevents neighbouring towns/villages from merging –The degree to which the Green Belt land assists in safeguarding the countryside from encroachment –The degree to which the Green Belt land preserves the setting and special character of historic towns and villages Against each of these criteria, the assessment is graded –Significant –Moderate –Minimal

4 Westcott Green Belt Boundary Assessment The key elements to this process are (1) –Review of initial work by MVDC –Benchmarking of definitions against other community assessments –Empirical study of our village Green Belt boundaries –Reassessment of MVDC’s initial segmentation –Drafting our initial conclusions

5 DRAFT GREEN BELT BOUNDARY ASSESSMENT It is… –An objective assessment against the three criteria It is not… –A recommendation to change the boundaries, or –An implied need to change the boundaries Any changes will be decided by MVDC (and ultimately DCLG) based on their assessment of District-wide need in relation to Government housing development targets

6 DRAFT Westcott Green Belt Boundary Assessment This assessment of the current Greenbelt has been delegated to the Forum by Mole Valley District Council as part of the ongoing need to ensure that there is sufficient housing within the District to satisfy their ‘Core Strategy’ requirement for deliverable and sustainable homes to The last review took place in 1983/4 – some 30 years ago - based on the demographic trends and an assessment of development needs at that time. The Green Belt boundary around Westcott village can be broadly segmented into two principal divisions. The first division is land which is very clearly falls into the definition of countryside – Segments W-GB-A, W-GB-B, and W- GB-C. The second division, although it sits within current Greenbelt land, has different features primarily based on the fact that housing, albeit low density, does already exist – Segments W-GB-D, W-GB-E, and W-GB-F. The criteria for the roles the Green belt plays in relation to the village are: Merging : To what degree does the Green Belt land prevent neighbouring towns/villages merging into one another? Encroachment : To what degree does the Green Belt land assist in safeguarding the countryside from encroachment? Setting and character : To what degree does the Green Belt land preserve the setting and special character of this historic village. Following open Forum meetings, workshops and door to door consultations, the impact role of the areas of Green Belt around the village has, therefore, been assessed using three grades of influence, - minimal, - moderate and - significant.

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8 Group Discussion Task Do you agree/disagree the broad principle of isolation of village in the Green Belt by areas W-GB-A, B, C? Any comments? Do you agree/disagree with Significant/Moderate/Minimal classifications? Any comments? Comment and review on specific areas W- GB- D, E, F Any other comments?

9 Westcott Green Belt Boundary Review – October 2013 Segment W -GB - A Minimal – This area of countryside around Westcott has no role in terms of preventing the merging of communities and much of which is owned by the National Trust. Significant – Westcott sits on the south side of the valley bounded by Ranmore and the ridge to the south of the A25. To the north of Pipp Brook the valley floor and the slopes of Ranmore are a patchwork of open fields and wooded areas. There are isolated farms and houses dotted along the valley. It is open, undeveloped and contributes significantly to safeguarding the countryside from encroachment. It should be noted that it is an important part of the land designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Criterion 2 - Safeguarding country from encroachment Moderate – This area is largely farmland and woodland and very much a part of the setting of the village. General Commentary This segment is open countryside and farmland. To the north of the village Ranmore rises beyond the valley floor which is farmed, changing in nature from arable and pastoral fields to wooded areas. The Pilgrims Way runs East / West along the ridge passing through woods and open patches of grassed land. Much of the land is owned by the National Trust and is not available for development. A key feature of the village setting is the easy access to the countryside for walkers, equestrian pursuits, and cyclists. Criterion 3 – Preserving special character of the village Criterion 1 - Merging

10 Westcott Green Belt Boundary Review – October 2013 Segment W-GB - B Significant – This area is less than 400 metres from the end of Sondes Place Drive, which, although shielded from the A25 by trees, is nevertheless the western edge of the town of Dorking. The greenbelt between town and village, plays an important role in preventing the perceived and actual merging of Dorking with Westcott. Significant – This segment is largely wooded and contains only a few residential properties together with a Girl Guide retreat altogether hidden from view. To all intents and purposes this is woodland which creates a natural screen to the village which sits beyond the land rising from the Milton Brook valley floor. Criterion 1 - Merging Criterion 2 - Safeguarding country from encroachment Moderate – This land abuts part of the Westcott Conservation Area and, viewed from the east and north, is consistent with the character of the outer fringes of the village forming a natural extension of the woods and farmland below the North Downs (segment W-GB-A) General Commentary The character of this segment is one of dense woodland and, with The Nower to the south and east, the open field to the east of Lince Lane, and the views of Ranmore to the north, creates the visual impression of leaving the town (of Dorking) and moving out into countryside. This is an important feature in preserving the distinction between the two communities. Criterion 3 – Preserving special character of the village

11 Westcott Green Belt Boundary Review – October 2013 Segment W – G B - C Minimal – This area of countryside south of Westcott village has no role in terms of preventing the merging of communities being almost entirely woods and farmland. Significant – Westcott rises to the south forming a ridge beyond which are open fields and picturesque countryside criss- crossed by footpaths and bridleways, farmland and woods and lakes. It is open, undeveloped and contributes significantly to safeguarding the countryside from encroachment. It should be noted that it is designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Criterion 1 - Merging Criterion 2 - Safeguarding country from encroachment Moderate – This area is largely farmland and woodland and very much a part of the setting of the village. General Commentary This segment is open countryside and farmland with limited vehicular access. There are important areas of woodland, typical of the Surrey Hills area, together with lakes and ponds which are a feature of the valley. The village of Westcott is constrained to the East, and West and North, by streams and lakes (Milton Brook and Pippbrook respectively) forming natural boundaries around the village. A key feature of the village setting is the easy access to the countryside for walkers, equestrian pursuits, and cyclists. Criterion 3 – Preserving special character of the village

12 Westcott Green Belt Boundary Review – October 2013 Segment W-G B - D Minimal –Although this area sits to the east of the village between Westcott and Dorking it is an area of existing development and closely related to the village. Minimal – Milton Street already has low density housing, a number of which are listed. This is not open countryside and there are plots of land which lie fallow. The land enclosed by the perimeter wall of Bury Hill Stables provides a contrast to these open plots. Criterion 1 - Merging Criterion 2 - Safeguarding country from encroachment Moderate– This is an historic area of the village with three listed buildings and the remainder of the housing dating back to the 19 th century. The western verge of the lane is bounded by Milton Brook and the effect is to create a semi-rural setting which to the south gradually merges into open countryside General Commentary Westcott Sports Ground lies to the east of Milton Street, the west side initially being screened by a tall Leylandii hedge behind which sits the (listed) walled garden of Bury Hill Stables. Beyond these two features the road is bounded on either side by attractive cottages and period houses which provide a country village feel to the road. Criterion 3 – Preserving special character of the village

13 Westcott Green Belt Boundary Review – October 2013 Segment W – G B-E Minimal – This segment of the village is different from the rest of the Southern edge of Westcott in that there has been 20th century development on The Hildens which creates a moderate density development on the outskirts of the village. There are no natural features which easily delineate this area. The land plays no role in preventing merging. Minimal – To the south of The Hildens is open countryside (see Segment W-GB-C) protected by a treeline on the southern boundary of the properties. It is this treeline which provides a delineation beyond which countryside encroachment would occur. Criterion 1 - Merging Criterion 2 - Safeguarding country from encroachment Moderate – The Hildens sits on the fringes of the village and is a private development. The plots are spacious and the housing varied, hidden largely from view by surrounding tree-lines and the natural contours of the land. The area is typical of the outer fringes of the village creating a gradation from village to countryside General Commentary This segment of the village has a greater density of housing than W-GB-F but borders the rolling wooded countryside of the Surrey Hills. The area is delineated by The Hildens and the lower end of Logmore Lane. Criterion 3 – Preserving special character of the village

14 Westcott Green Belt Boundary Review – October 2013 Segment W – G B- F Minimal –This area of countryside around Westcott has no role in terms of preventing the merging of communities. The village of Wotton is approximately 1.5 miles beyond the current greenbelt boundary. Minimal – This area of the village has low density housing set in large plots on the western end of the village. Housing is shielded from view by a significant density of trees which create the perception of a wooded area before the open countryside which lies to the West and North of this area. Criterion 1 - Merging Criterion 2 - Safeguarding country from encroachment Moderate – This segment of the village rises from the valley floor on the north side of the village and is set among mixed species of largely deciduous trees, giving the impression from a distance of natural woodland. The plots are spacious and the housing varied and built among the trees. The area is typical of the outer fringes of the village creating a gradation from village to countryside. General Commentary This segment is at the outer fringes of the village beyond which, to the West and North, is open countryside consisting of a patchwork of farmed land and woods. There are two features which delineate this segment; the first is Pippbrook which crosses the A25 and runs north-eastwards to the bottom of Westcott Street; the other is Balchins Lane, slightly further west from Pippbrook, and joins Westcott Street at the North West corner of the village. Criterion 3 – Preserving special character of the village

15 Westcott Green Belt Boundary Assessment The key elements to this process are (2) –Review of initial work by MVDC –Benchmarking of definitions against other community assessments –Empirical study of our village Green Belt boundaries –Reassessment of MVDC’s initial segmentation –Drafting our initial conclusions –Encouraging land owners to put forward sites for consideration –Consulting the village community on the draft assessment –Finalising the assessment document –Submitting the Westcott assessment to MVDC –Incorporation of the Westcott assessment with the Mole Valley planning authority review –MVDC publish draft Plan, including proposals for exclusion of land from Green Belt –Public Examination and approval by Secretary of State

16 Westcott Green Belt Boundary Assessment Challenges –Reaching consensus on the Westcott report –Process by which landowner proposals are handled –Handling potential conflicts over who is the final arbiter over Green Belt boundary changes

17 Westcott Green Belt Boundary Assessment Challenges –Reaching consensus on the Westcott report –Process by which landowner proposals are handled –Handling potential conflicts over who is the final arbiter over greenbelt boundary changes –Timescales (issued by MVDC planning officers) Westcott submission by March 2014 Late 2014 MVDC publish draft Housing Plan including any proposed greenbelt boundary alterations Early 2015 Housing Pans submitted to DCLG Late 2015 MVDC adopts Housing Plan Early 2016 Draft NDP’s sent to external examiner Summer 2016 NDP’s adopted

18 Westcott Green Belt Boundary Assessment Challenges –Reaching consensus on the Westcott report –Process by which landowner proposals are handled –Handling potential conflicts over who is the final arbiter over greenbelt boundary changes –Timescales (issued by MVDC planning officers) Westcott submission by April 2014 Late 2014 MVDC publish draft Housing Plan including any proposed greenbelt boundary alterations Early 2015 Housing Pans submitted to DCLG Late 2015 MVDC adopts Housing Plan Early 2016 Draft NDP’s sent to external examiner Summer 2016 NDP’s adopted If we continue to aim for a May 2015 referendum our proposed village Neighbourhood Plan will have to be produced without the knowledge of the final outcome of the Green Belt Boundary Assessment and therefore may well be subject to alteration

19 Options 1.Carry on producing the NDP for only the land within the current village boundary according to the original timescales and prepare a draft recognising that it may not reflect any changes to the Green Belt that MVDC subsequently might agree. 2.Put the NDP on hold until some time in 2015 when the results of the MVDC Green Belt review will be more visible, and then produce our draft NDP. Use the period to end 2014 (when MV publishes its draft plan) to prepare our draft NDP ready for Summer of Abandon the NDP process and pass responsibility for making planning policy decisions for Westcott back to Mole Valley.


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